I am an empty nest mom who "loves" my loved ones with good food--often "comfort food." I believe in good homemade soups, full bellies, and tastes that please most everyone rather than the sophisticate. I am involved in our church kitchen and have planned numerous meals. These meals include everything from the "everyone chips in" potlucks and Mother's Day High Teas on up to Prime Rib Christmas Dinners for 100. I love cooking and am always on the lookout for that "better" recipe!
My favorite things to cook
If it's "Comfort Food" I like to cook it!! I consider myself the local version of Paula Deen here in our small rural Oregon town. I like hearty and creamy homemade soups, thick stews, and "stick-to-yer-ribs" meals. At one church meal, I was given the official title of "Meatloaf Queen." People who don't like meatloaf like MY meatloaf! Things I'm known for are: Oven Fried Chicken, Rice Pilaf from scratch, Beef & Barley Crock Pot Stew, Pulled BBQ Pork Sandwiches, Granny's Best Ever Baked Beans (my own recipe), Macaroni N' Cheese, fresh Greek Salad (again, my own recipe!), Bread Machine Sweet Dinner Rolls, Strawberry Pizza, Crock Pot Bread Pudding, and for Chrismas--Orange Sweet Rolls!!
My favorite family cooking traditions
Well, Mom was the roast and casserole Queen! Dad would be expected to arrive at 4:55pm and dinner was on the table by 5:15--just long enough for dad to change out of his work clothes and to come padding to the table in his socks. Once or twice a year, it would be dad's turn to cook and he'd do oriental style for dinner. He'd have out the wok, soy sauce, cooking chopsticks, and the bean sprouts. If he was cooking breakfast, it was Huevos Rancheros and he'd have the Chorizo and eggs and flour tortillas smelling up the whole house. We all knew we were in for a "special meal" when dad cooked. Now that I'm carrying on the "traditions" I guess I should talk about my potato salad. Everyone wants "my" potato salad. The others are good, but they want to make sure mine is there along with the others. Funny thing is--it only has 5 ingredients!! If I try to give it a "kick" with onions or other seasonings--such complaining!! Why mess with "simple perfection" they cry!!
My cooking triumphs
I catered a church Ladies Retreat and was asked to do a "lesson" on cooking as part of the weekend's activities. I talked about making your own mixes as opposed to "store bought" and the advantages of knowing exactly what each ingredient is in the mix--and no chemicals or preservatives, as well as having the option to change it for personal tastes or allergies. I handed out sample packets of the mix with the basic recipe and meal ideas so each of the ladies could take it home and give it a try themselves! I am still receiving praise on the food I prepared that particular weekend! They REMEMBER IT!!
My cooking tragedies
When I was first married, my new husband requested that I make sweet potato casserole--the kind with marshmallows on top--for our first Thanksgiving. This dish was not part of our tradition growing up, but with a recipe from my favorite cookbook, I gave it my best try. I mixed it all up, and decided to make the top as "pretty" as I could. So, I placed large marshmallows ON END all over the top of the casserole like floor tiles. Well, I put it in the oven to brown and before we knew it, we were smelling burnt marshmallows! We both ran to the kitchen and my hubby opened the oven door. Whoosh!! A great burst of flames erupted from the oven! The marshmallows were EXPANDING and spilling all over the oven elements catching on fire! We turned off the oven and pulled out the dish, spilling toasted marshmallows all over the oven door. We spent the next half hour laughing and cleaning the oven up while we ate toasted marshmallows off the oven door!!!